What are parents — and others– really afraid of?



In Editor Susan Crowell’s Sept. 9 column, “Obama school speech furor: You can tell it was a slow news day,” you dismissed as unwarranted the criticism of allowing the speech to be broadcast in classrooms all across America to children starting at 5.

One of the spins produced by the White House press spokesman was that Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush also addressed students. The media ran with that and spread the word in almost every report produced about the affair.

Those old enough to remember know that few, if any, classrooms in the mid-1980s had access to television sets.

And if it had been suggested by the Bush administration that a speech of his be carried directly to every school child in America, the tsunami the hate-Bush crowd would have generated over the suggestion would make the complaints against Obama’s speech look like a mild spring flood.

Even if it were allowed that a speech by Reagan was broadcast in every classroom in America, it wouldn’t be the same…Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.

You wrote that parents were demanding to see the speech, so you summarized it for them: “Stay in school. Set goals. Work hard and take responsibility for your own future.”

You added later that “there’s no hidden agenda” in a message like that. I could picture you scratching your head and wondering, “So what are parents — and others — really afraid of?”

Well, I’m an “other” and if you really were wondering, here’s the “what”: Government by personality cult.

During the past week President Obama delivered three television speeches, appeared on five Sunday morning televised network talk shows, was a guest on Letterman and delivered speeches covered by television at two automobile assembly plants.

This in addition to the speech he delivered the week before in prime time to a joint session of Congress and, of course, the address that he hoped would reach every school child in America.

He is in a perpetual campaign mode seeking to build an adored-leader image that he hopes Congress can’t ignore when considering legislation that everyone should fear.

Personality cult fear number one: Obamcare.

It goes much deeper than cost or government takeover of our health care system. The success of the anti-smoking fanatics is the touchstone.

Things were going nowhere until a study was released that fraudulently claimed that second hand smoke kills. The regulators and tax men took off. But now the dire threat of death is no longer necessary.

The threat of increased cost to the health care system is enough. Under Obamcare anything that can in any way be shown to adversely affect the cost of health care will be fodder for the regulators and tax men.

Fat people are the first on the hit list. The regulations and taxes that will be imposed to control their habits, however, will affect every one, fat and thin.

Personality cult fear number two: Cap and Trade.

Built on the foundation of the fraud of man-induced global warming, industries large and small will suffer. Many will fold, entrepreneurship will be discouraged, job creation will stagnate.

One can only cringe contemplating the effect it will have as costs are passed on to the consumer. Just last week the Obama administration released the results of a study that concludes that the added tax per family due to Cap and Trade will be $1,761 a year. That’s a government figure, so double it.

Farmers are being told they will be able to increase their bottom line by selling carbon credits. But farmers are not dumb.

In light of the tremendous increase in their energy and supply costs, they know that any income generated by carbon credits will be about as significant to their bottom line under Cap and Trade as collecting postage stamps or aluminum beer and soda cans would be now. (http://blog.heritage.org/2009/06/09/for-farmers-cap-and-trade-is-a-permanent-drought-season/ ).

I would think that you’d feel as threatened by all of this as I am and so many others are, especially considering the first point above.

This personality-cult build-up is designed to drive before it everything else in the Obama statist agenda.

Clyde Nehrenz

Sullivan, Ohio

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  1. Mr. Nehrenz,

    I understand the concern you and others may have about a ‘personality cult,’ and I have shared this concern as well – and not just about Obama. You’ll remember how often personality was raised when W. ran against Gore, and again against Kerry, with a common case for Bush being “he’s the guy I’d rather have a beer with.” A great leader needs a strong personality, no doubt, but we can certainly agree that it is folly to allow the way we regard a politician’s personality to overshadow the actual policies being considered.

    Where this argument loses me, however, is that it seems to suppose that simply by giving a short speech on a TV set – containing, as this magazine correctly noted, nothing remotely controversial in terms of content – Obama will essentially brainwash children everywhere to support his policies. Obviously there are steps in between, but I keep hearing the same paranoia which also seems to underlie the town-hall-shouters: that everything Obama does is done in service to his ultimate “statist agenda.”

    Many of the fears about “Obamacare” are highly irrational and don’t have any real evidence behind them besides anecdotes from Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck. Hopefully by now everyone knows there is no “death panel.” When people wring their hands about “government deciding who gets covered for what” they seem to be forgetting who decides now: private corporations whose primary responsibility (in fact, if you are a gung-ho free market capitalist, their ONLY responsibility) is to create more profit for their shareholders. Obligations to people they cover – or reject coverage for – are secondary. In a public option, the customers are the primary concern, not only because government programs have moral and legal obligations that corporations do not, but also because customers and ‘shareholders’ are the same: the entire taxpaying public.

    Obama’s health care and insurance reform plans are not the first step in some grand “statist agenda.” Obama isn’t going to take your guns, mark my words. At very most, you MIGHT find it a little more involved to get your hands on the kinds of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry you don’t need unless you’re doing business with the Mafia. Cap and trade carbon credits, if they ever happen, are only going to affect the largest farm operations – the program isn’t targeted at farmers, but at the big industrial sites that are doing a lot more permanent harm than most people realize.

    And as for the “fraud of man-induced global warming,” I have yet to meet a single person who believes humans have nothing to do with global warming who has also made any even halfhearted attempt to look at the data from a remotely objective point of view. Global warming isn’t some liberal conspiracy – it’s really happening. Even Newt Gingerich recognizes that!

    Of course Obama is in “constant campaign mode” – what politician isn’t? But not everything is political. Our nation’s students have seen Obama on TV before, believe it or not; one address telling them to stay in school is hardly going to turn them into knee-jerk liberals.

  2. What does Mr. Nehrenz fear? He quotes the rantings of cable personalities (talk about your cult followings) with the hope that everyone who reads his folish blathering will march in step. Think for yourself and remember who fights for the benefit of corporate leaders who run to D.C. begging for “relief” from regulalation and taxes. Remember, too how that helped all of us during the latest Conservative regime.


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